MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — There is little doubt, now, that Kansas State’s defense is among the Big 12’s elite.
But in Saturday’s league opener, the Wildcat offense made that fact irrelevant.
West Virginia rallied from a 16-3 deficit in the fourth quarter to top K-State, 17-16, on Saturday afternoon at Milan Puskar Stadium.
Matt McCrane missed a 42-yard field goal that would have given the Wildcats the lead with two minutes left. But K-State’s offense, which scored three points in the second half, is what ultimately lost the game.
Jesse Ertz finished 10-of-30 passing for 166 yards, an interception and a rushing touchdown. K-State (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) only scored 13 points on its four possessions that reached the WVU 30 yard line.
The Mountaineers (4-0, 1-0) had plenty of missed opportunities themselves. A goal line fumble and missed field goal allowed K-State’s “bend-not-break” defense to work like a charm for three quarters.
K-State led 13-0 at halftime. After that point, the Wildcats ran 34 plays and totalled 98 yards of offense.
WVU took the lead on a seven-yard pass from Skylar Howard to Jovon Durante with 6:11 left. K-State moved the ball into Mountaineer territory before McCrane’s miss, which was his first of the day but his third from more than 40 yards this season.
Charles Jones led the K-State rushing attack with 53 yards on 16 carries. Byron Pringle (4 catches, 61 yards) was the only Wildcat with more than two receptions, but he dropped a would-be touchdown in the third quarter that would have given K-State a 20-3 lead.
K-State returns home to face Texas Tech next weekend at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.